As the need for paper copies of government documents continues to decline, the Government Printing Office plans to trim 100 positions by the end of 2014.
The legislative branch agency said Tuesday it will seek permission from Congress and the Office of Personnel Management to offer lump-sum payments of up to $25,000 as an incentive to voluntarily leave, following the strategy used during the previous round of buyouts in 2011. The GPO says it hopes to cut about 5 percent of its 1,850-person workforce.
Since 1980, the GPO has reduced its workforce by 70 percent, including the 2011 buyout that targeted 25 percent of the agency’s managers and supervisory personnel. Veteran employees such as plant manager John Crawford, who started with the GPO in 1966, have watched technological change whittle the workforce from a peak of about 8,500 people. “If you don’t change, you get left behind,” Crawford told CQ Roll Call during a spring visit to the GPO’s North Capitol Street headquarters.
In a statement released Tuesday, Public Printer Davita Vance-Cooks indicated the reductions could be achieved without compromising the GPO’s ability to serve Congress, federal agencies and the public.
“Unlike most Federal agencies, GPO operates like a business, covering most of its costs through the income we earn for the provision of information products and services,” said Vance-Cooks, who was sworn in as head of the agency in August 2013. “As the Government’s publisher, we’re committed to ensuring that our staffing and other requirements match our customers’ needs in this digital age.”
Vance-Cooks has expressed support for a bill that would rebrand the agency as the Government Publishing Office to better reflect its modern mission. The proposal has not been voted on by the Senate since it was introduced in January.
The House further reduced the GPO’s role in the day-to-day operations of Congress in its legislative branch appropriation for fiscal 2015. The spending bill included an amendment, sponsored by Rep. Brad Wenstrup, R-Ohio, that prohibits funding for delivery of printed copies of the House’s daily calendar to member offices, because the document is available online.